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Sexing mountain quail

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am having trouble telling my trio of m/f mountain quail apart.  Not really even sure what to look for.  I sure hope I don't have all males but Murphy's bird law...

 

What should I be looking for?  I don't even know what pwrts of their bodies to take pictures of.  

 

Thank you!!!

Chris

 

post #2 of 9
How old are these quail? Take a look at the back of their necks...on hens, you should see more brown, while the males will have a clearer blue with less of the brown wash over the nape.
It's a little tricky as the colors vary from Bird to Bird...best thing is to have a GOOD look at a known true pair and take note of the (sometimes subtle) differences between the two. Also, Males generally have slightly longer crest than hens, but this is not always the case.

I only had Mountain's for a short while, I'm sure someone can give you a better explanation/method to sexing them...that's just what I noticed in the Mountains I kept.

They're awesome birds...I really miss having them....May have to get busy on some New pens hahaa.
post #3 of 9

Hello,

It seems as if we are in the same boat here! I also just recently started raising mountain quail and have the same questions! I started a thread a couple of weeks ago and got some really great responses. Here is the link I hope it helps you and feel free to add your questions and concerns. Good luck!

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1024486/to-all-the-mountain-quail-experts


Edited by Pheasant - 10/16/15 at 10:38am
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks... Replied there to you! I am a little concerned because I've been told that some strains show less or no brown at all on the males and even the females. It's like once one person gives advice someone says the opposite. Well, I guess not the opposite but rather exceptions!

My 3 all show a brown patch on the back of their head above the "jacket". This could mean they are girls. Then I look at your picture and all that brown and I think mine are guys. Then I look at a picture of other birds that the boys have absolutely no brown, and the girls have just a tiny "shade" or patch and I see girls. Then I hear that the Western strains both are exactly the same and I feel like grilling them!

Mine are about 5-6 months old, and I brushed up against one trying to gently take pictures and its tail feathers came out in a chunk. Basically knocked off by the back of my hand! I am concerned they are either fixing to molt as winter starts OR their feed is not sufficient protein.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrishw View Post

Thanks... Replied there to you! I am a little concerned because I've been told that some strains show less or no brown at all on the males and even the females. It's like once one person gives advice someone says the opposite. Well, I guess not the opposite but rather exceptions!....

 

What you've stated above regarding "strains" and the advice someone says is true.  The natural range of mountain quail ranges from Washington (the State) to Baja California.  In its northern range, the birds (on average) have more brown compared to birds in the south.  So if you were to get a male mountain quail in Washington/Oregon and compare it with a male mountain quail in the south, you might mistake the male from the north as a female (because it has some brown).  And, to complicate things more, even males or females from within the same population/locality have variations (the brown) from one another too.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrishw View Post

...Mine are about 5-6 months old, and I brushed up against one trying to gently take pictures and its tail feathers came out in a chunk. Basically knocked off by the back of my hand! I am concerned they are either fixing to molt as winter starts OR their feed is not sufficient protein.

Their feathers come off easily because that's the way they are.  Diet and environment will help a bit but still, if you're not careful, lots of feathers will come off.

 

I don't want to give you high hopes, but based on the pictures you've shown, although their feathers are still growing, I think you might have 1 female and 2 males.  In the pictures you've shown, I think the female is the one on the left.  I am basing it off of the white vertical bars on the side of the birds (I explained it in a response to Pheasant's posted link; during and before the breeding season, the bars are a good indicator for gender, however during the off breeding season (like this time period), it's not always guaranteed).

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thx Pheasant and Nysees, I hope no one took my comments in any way negative towards the helpful advice, its just my frustration trying to figure out m/f for my um... Mentor, partner and great-grandad-in-law who technically has these birds! It's one of those frustrating, but kinda fun, while annoying parts of why this "hobby" is so awesome! Who needs Vegas when we gambel (pun intended) with 50 or hundred dollar birds!

Having some breeding Mountain quail have been a wish for my mentor for 80+ years of raising birds. Who knows how much he spent before me, but we spent close to 300 last year and had an incubator failure. One survived but was killed/died while this springs hatch was still under lights. About half as much this year and we are trying to get 4-5 more adult birds this fall, but can't decide how many males/females to order since we don't know what we have. smile.png I guess I must be somewhat sadomasochistic to enjoy this??? Plus my mentor tends to do everything the way he always has, whether it be saying chicken laying mash is good for a quail since its what him and all his friends used for 80 years to closing all the holes in the incubator, even putting caulk around the cracks and gasket around the door blocking any possible airflow. I just have to laugh, otherwise I would go insane! I mention this because I think he went back to laying mash, so I might need to take his empty bag s of feed and fill them with proper feed when he isn't looking. Sometimes well meaning tricks are just easier than trying to change his mind. smile.png

Anyways, thank you both for all your help! I guess I will try to get two males and 3-4 females and worse case we will have 5 males and 4 females, or two males and 7 females, but probably something in-between!

We are looking at that fellow in Idaho (redman game farm or something like that) and Scott O'Brien from Maine. I've been told by several folks that they have some very nice bloodlines.
Edited by chrishw - 10/17/15 at 8:33pm
post #7 of 9

I didn't read anything offensive about your comments.  I've had mixed experiences with using an incubator.  When I first started keeping them, my first birds hatched well under an incubator, but then now with a different bloodline, they do not hatch well in an incubator.  I have to use a broody hen to sit on or start out the eggs if I want to hatch out some birds.

post #8 of 9

No problem at all Chrishw! As you saw I had the same problem. There were days where I was positive it was a male and then there were days where I was positive it was a female! In retrospect this is what makes these quails and the hobby itself so exciting. 


Edited by Pheasant - 10/17/15 at 10:14pm
post #9 of 9

I know what you mean. My father taught me everything I know about raising birds. Now that I'm older I have my own way of taking care of birds that sometimes doesn't coincide with my father's way. What's really important is not whether it's their old way or our different or "new" way, it is that we enjoy raising these birds together. We are also looking to order form Scott!

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